Throughout the centuries, fishing on the River Thames has formed a vital part of British history. A new exhibition at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley on Thames looks at the history, ecology and biology above and below the surface of England’s most famous river, to illustrate the wonderful world of fish.
The Thames stretches for over 220 miles and is home to over 115 species of freshwater fish, many of which haven’t changed in millions of years, despite significant changes above the water line. This stretch of water is now one of the cleanest urban rivers in the world and as such, supports a fragile, but important,
The exhibition provides a fascinating insight into everything you need to know about fish and fishing along the Thames, these include: ‘Lifecycles’ of species found in the Thames; ‘Epic Journeys’ –– fish that clock up thousands of sea miles to return to the Thames; ‘Fishy business’ –– focussing on the importance of the river as a commercial fishery over hundreds of years, from the Middle Ages when observance made fresh fish on a Friday essential and ‘Angling Times’ –– the growth of fishing as a leisure pursuit, particularly during the Victorian era when guides would be hired to locate the best spots to catch fish on the river. Finally, ‘Rod and line’, which delves in to the development of fishing tackle and fly art, both ancient and modern.
A unique feature of the exhibition will be the display of two large fish tanks, giving visitors a close-up view of many of the fish found in the Thames.
One of the most famous collections of cased fish caught on the river will also be on display. The collector, A.E. Hobbs, was one of the greatest anglers of his time and he held the record of over 800 trout from the river alone.
Thames Source - Lechlade
Length: 23 miles Total since start: 23 miles
This first section of the Thames Path National Trail will take you from the rolling countryside of the Cotswolds past limestone villages and farms to Lechlade.
Lechlade - Oxford
Length: 31 miles Total Since Start: 54 miles
After passing by Radcot and the oldest bridge over the river, this least habited section of The Thames Path National Trail takes you through to Oxford and with it comes a change to more open, flatter countryside with wider views.
Oxford - Wallingford
Length: 24 miles Total since start: 78 miles
There's more variety on offer on this section of the trail, ranging from Iron Age forts through farmland and attractions like Nuneham House and Dorchester Abbey.
Wallingford - Henley on Thames
Length: 27 miles Total Since Start: 105 miles
Heading for Henley on Thames, home of the famous Henley Royal Regatta, The Thames Path National Trail enters more varied and hilly land, albeit gently so, as it approaches the Chilterns at the Goring Gap.
Henley on Thames - Windsor
Length: 23 miles Total since start: 128 miles
By now the Thames is really getting into its stride and has developed most of it's majesty and size, which is appropriate as on this section the Thames Path National Trail starts to enter Royal country. Passing through picturesque towns and countryside steeped in royal history and patronage, your approach to Windsor is heralded by fine views of Windsor Castle.
The Thames Path National Trail splits into two here offering the opportunity to follow either the north or south bank of the river. The features and attractions come thick and fast as the trail begins to enter London proper. It's not all urban landscape and striking buildings though, as the trail passes numerous historical villages and parks, not to mention Kew Gardens and more. The annual Oxford / Cambridge boat race takes place on this section.